Recently a number of inspired people have discovered that churches are full of flaws. Upon reaching this earth-shattering, ground-breaking, paradigm-destroying discovery, they gathered together in the bowels of the internet, presumably for peer review, to share this miraculous discovery with their similarly enlightened brethren. They were shocked to learn that other brave souls had also tested this hypothesis and likewise found that every single church in the United States of America, and probably Canada, contained elements that were, to borrow from their secular fellow travelers, problematic. They have sent emissaries to churches in Europe, Australia, and other civilized lands with luxury hotels, air conditioning, and a populace that speaks English, to find out if these distant lands were also afflicted with the same problems. Reports have not been received from these adventurous souls doing their anthropological and sociological field work. The odds are astoundingly high that they will find foreign churches to be just as problematic as domestic churches, although we should wait for Nate Silver to finish building his latest algorithm before we will know for certain. Stay tuned for future updates.
It should come as no surprise to any student of church history or history that the church is a flawed institution. However, one needn’t be a student of history to know this, one must merely read the Bible. One of the most central points of the Bible is the fallen nature of man and the fallen nature of this world. It is greatly emphasized. Fallen people create fallen institutions. The church is an institution made of up flawed and fallen people, and thus will never be perfect. The perfect church does not exist. The perfect church has never existed. The only perfect church is the one that exists in heaven. Since the perfect church does not exist, stop looking for it. You will only launch yourself into a fruitless cycle of endless church shopping, list-making, list-checking, and petty whining. The shorter version: shut up and go to church. There are 350,000 churches in the United States. Surely one of them might be a fit for your very unique and very special theological, spiritual, and emotional needs.
Why go to church? Because we are commanded to go to church. Because Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, James, and all the rest went to church. Because a significant amount of the New Testament is about the business and practice of church—who should lead a church, who should serve in a church, who should teach, etc. Because the church is the means by which Christ will save the lost, heal the sick, free captives, and serve the poor. As a pastor once put it, the church is God’s plan A, and there is no plan B. And finally, because 2000 years of history and tradition are a more reliable indicator of truth than your feelings.
Christianity is a covenantal and communal faith. It is meant to be experienced in community. We cannot grow into the fullness of what God has intended us to be without discipleship and accountability. We are called to go out into the world and make disciples. Before we can do that, we must become disciples ourselves. That might sound like a humbling experience to some of you. Good. It’s supposed to. Liturgy, worship, sacraments, scripture, teaching, preaching, bible study, community are some of the greatest sources of truth, beauty, and joy. Do not starve yourself of those things because of your pride, convenience, or feelings.
If you do not go to a church, find a church nearby and start attending. If you do not know of a good church in your area, the editorial board of this website will be happy to provide recommendations. If you don’t like the church you’re currently attending, you could find another one and go there, or you could get involved and change things. The only way you can ensure that a church remains terrible is to do nothing. Except complaining about it on the internets. Hashtag spiritual activism is for losers. Men take the hard path. Men take action. Men fix things. Go out into your communities and find churches.
There will be a church, it might not be the best, but you should keep looking.
Some prominent pastors have groups “find a similar church in your area” so if you find a good pastor on the internet, e.g. YouTube, check for affiliates or like minded (e.g. libertyfellowshipmt.com is one of my favorites, and I’m Catholic)
Or start one in your home the way the original Christians did.
There are many restaurants, some have fast-food, some have great food, some specialize in nutrition. You’d make an effort to find a good restaurant, and keep trying, you can find a good church.
“There are 350,000 churches in the United States. Surely one of them might be a fit for your very unique and very special theological, spiritual, and emotional needs.”
That is good.
Better yet… stop looking for the church you need. Start looking for the church that needs you.
When a church foundationally violates Biblical Ethos (Homosexual and female priests, for example), It stops being about ‘looking for a church’ and starts being about finding a church that actually holds to the word of Christ.
The only reason these things happened in Churches in the first place is that good men abandoned the churches in the name of being nice.
its time to come back and set this right.
Sometimes you don’t need to come with a bough, sometimes you need to come with the sword. Sometimes being present and being a good man simply is not enough.
Look at Pope Frank. No one will argue that he’s possibly the nicest guy you will ever meet, and that he’s good through and through. And yet, he’s an absolute apostate, and preaches heresy wherever he goes.
He is a no good sorry Marxist bastard.
Are you saying that perhaps MAT 10:34-36 might be required?
Amen! Amen!! It is time for people to face the reality that the Devil / Satan does exist and he has control of this world. Our world needs more spiritual light in it and the only resource for genuine spiritual light is for all people to go back to a Catholic church and keep going to hear the truth of Jesus Christ.
Exactly. I am 62 years old. Two children still living. Three grandchildren. And yes, I have found a good church–exactly the right one. But it is 100 miles away. And what’s this talk about starting a church? To do what? Administer the sacraments? And just who in my very own started church would or could do that? The advice is facile. This is a REAL problem, and it cannot be dismissed in such a glib way as the writer has done.
“I love Christ but I hate his bride.” — statement from wise pastor when we discussed this phenomenon several years ago.
Volunteering is key. Even if you are powerless (are you sure you’re manipulating the rules correctly?) to change a situation, you can find like-minded individuals and form small groups/Bible studies. They are there.
Well, if you can find me a Unitarian church that is NOT universalist (ugh) I might be tempted. I have seen too many flaws with Trinitarianism to take it seriously, and worshipping Christ-as-god, a pagan, polytheistic concept, instead of his father like he told us to do a dozen times in the new testament is a deal-breaker.
Adventists are idiots, and Mormons put too much stock in an fictional alternate history of America. What does that leave?
2000 years of Church History disagrees with you, as does Christ’s own words: “I and the Father are one”
We can have this debate, But I plan on keeping it civil.
“Father, why have you forsaken me?”
“I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I”
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”
“yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”
“one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”
“but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”
Jesus’ Sacrifice, if he were indeed god as well as the lord of us, would be meaningless. Jesus, as a man, and as the son of god, sacrificing his very one and only life for us, makes that sacrifice a million times more heroic, and more worthy.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
I don’t know about you, but I was born with one body, and one head, and one spirit.
“For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Jesus himself was subject to God… which makes sense, as his son. Not as himself.
“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Jesus is the Lord of this world. Not Satan, as some insist. He is clearly a separate being who has interceded on our behalf. We do not worship Christ, we worship God through the intermediary of Christ. He was put here to learn to be human, to empathize and understand us, and that is both his glory and his strength.
“But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
We are not Hindus, worshipping Trimurti with three faces. We are Christians, Worshipping the one God, through the intermediary of his only begotten son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have the assistance of the Holy Spirit should we choose to listen to him.
The political Machinations of the Pagan emperor Constantine were quite possibly the origins of the False church. I think that the Church on earth has lost it’s connection to the true Christian church… But I do not hate them or revile them, because God listens to his kid… Trying and failing to worship him due to false information from thousands of years ago does not make one evil, as long as you are still trying.
I will unhesitatingly support any Christian church, even if they get it wrong… because they are still trying, and God forgives those who do their best and still fail, since we are not perfect and were never intended to be. Doing your best is the important thing. God is not Yoda.
and yes, I understand the explanation “God lived as a man and voluntarily gave up his memory of being god so he could see what life as a man is like”. But that sounds like pure science fiction, and completely ignores his omniscience.
I do not believe (nor is it traditional Christianity) to think Jesus “forgot” his God-nature.
BTW- please don’t think for even a moment I haven’t spent over two decades researching, clarifying, and logically linking my belief systems… My rejection of trinitarianism is not knee jerk or antireactionary or thoughtless… trinitarianism simply doesn’t hold water. And I have indeed read many of the theologians on the subject.
“Father, why have you forsaken me?”
Brigidon… you need to take a serious bible study. But for now… just read Psalm 22.
Here I was reading about Orthodoxy all day……and now I see this screaming example of individual scriptural interpretation causing trouble….
No thank you, I am not Jewish.
The New Testament tells Christians to read the Psalms.
I see nothing in psalm 22 that agrees with a polytheistic approach to god.
It was in response to your quote of Jesus from the cross: Why has though forsaken me? It is a quote from Psa 22. In effect, in good Jewish form, he was using the one line to represent the entire thing. Lector was just giving context to why he said that.
St Constantine had zero power over the church. He merely provided a path to organizing it. But with Nicea, as with all of the great councils, if the entire church did not agree with the decision it did not become practice. There were a number of such councils that failed because of this.
I can appreciate your perspective, and honestly, a discussion board on a website is not conducive to having a real conversation about such a weighty subject. For the nonce, I will just say that I trust the Great Christians over the past 2000 years who have unwaveringly held that Trinitarian doctrine is correct.
I do pray you find truth, but for the purposes of this site, I will take your same approach and offer my hand in friendship as we work toward the same cultural goals.
Friend, over the last 2000 years there have been many schisms… They said much the same thing about Protestants, and yet arguably protestantism is the core of what caused America to be what it was for a long time.
Your logical fallacy is Appeal to Tradition.
The truth doesn’t care about 2000 years of “Church History”.
No, it is an appeal to authority in that Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church, implying that , as a whole, the Church would remain faithful to him. So I trust him. Sue me.
Or the Apostle Paul who called the Church “The Pillar and support of the Truth”
For any Confessional Lutherans (LCMS) reading this, I’ve found Issues, Etc. to be helpful in finding a solid LCMS church. I found a great church that was nearby when my own began its journey down the “lets get butts in the pews with contemporary/praise worship”.
Yeah, scolding is such a manly thing to do.
This has cuck written all throughout it.
Whiny snark is pretty tough, though.
Shut up and go to church.
Calling men to a mission is not scolding. Christians holding other Christians accountable is a biblically prescribed duty.
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